Spring dance & theater season includes thought-provoking performances

Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 21:23

Spring season productions of the UNT Department of Dance and Theatre contain a common thread – that of learning and promoting discussion – delving into a philosophical play peppered with Steve Martin humor, premiering a play that profiles a fascinating historic figure and highlighting the “power of dance” with performances by faculty, students and alumni.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

7:30 p.m., Feb. 28, March 1-2 and March 7-8, 2 p.m. March 3 and 9; University Theatre, RTFP Building

Tickets: $10 adults, $7.50 students; discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, new UNT faculty and KERA members.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play written by comedian Steve Martin, follows the fictional meeting of two young and not-yet-famous geniuses, Picasso and Einstein, who hilariously debate the powers of Art and Science. 

“It’s a romp,” said Managing Director of Theatre Production Marjorie Hayes, who is directing the play.  

Just when there seems to be a meeting of the minds between the two, a mysterious visitor from the future arrives to take the discussion to another level.  

Professional Guest Scenic Designer Michael Sullivan joins a creative team of student designers who will create the wacky world of Café au Lapin Agile of and the clothes of 1904 Paris.  

The Lady Revealed

7:30 p.m. April 11-13, 2 p.m. April 14; Studio Theatre, RTFP Building

$5 general admission

Written by Professor of Theatre History, Play Analysis and Playwriting Andrew B. Harris, the play focuses on A.L. Rowse, who shocked the world when he revealed Emilia Bassano Lanier (1569-1645) as the Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The son of a semi-literate Cornish clay worker, Rowse fought his way up the academic ladder at Oxford, only to have his discoveries bring him turmoil.

“He was highly controversial for his claims about the Sonnets and well-known for his spellbinding lectures and strong personality,” Harris said.

Premiering the play at UNT gives students a chance to originate roles, truly learning from scratch and placing their mark on the production as it evolves. Not only are all of the set designs, costumes, lighting and props the result of students’ creativity, but the music is being composed by College of Music student Daniel Sabzghabaei. Associate Professor of Acting and Voice Sally Vahle will direct.

“When she directs, Professor Vahle brings the expertise of a nationally-known leading lady to bear on the needs of the actors,” Harris said. “Writers learn a lot from directors and actors, and I intend to make the most of the opportunity.”

Harris is also in contact with several U.S. theaters about producing the play on a professional level – and is working to have it produced in London.

Celebrating the Power of Dance

8 p.m. April 25-26, 7 p.m. April 27, 2 p.m. April 28; University Theatre, RTFP Building

$10 adults; $7.50 UNT faculty and staff, UNT students with valid ID and seniors

Faculty, students and alumni come together for the annual Faculty Dance Concert, with works by Professor of Dance Shelley Cushman. Held in conjunction with the concert will be a three-day event with alumni workshops, presentations, a symposium, reception and gala.

“The Department of Dance and Theatre has played an invaluable role in contributing to the enrichment of the student population and strives to continue to do so through UNT’s progress and evolution,” said Cushman.

To support that, the department will bring acclaimed dance educator Daniel Lewis to UNT for a symposium on April 26 and as speaker at a scholarship and benefit gala on April 27. Lewis worked closely with José Limón, a pioneer in the field of modern dance and choreography. Upon joining the New World School of Arts in Miami, Fla., as Dean of Dance, Lewis created the dance division’s eight-year professional program. As a choreographer, Lewis has been commissioned to create works for several groups, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Dallas Civic Opera, American Opera Center at Lincoln Center and The Julliard School.

The April 27 gala will include a 5:30 p.m. Champagne Reception, the show at 7 p.m., and dinner, silent auction and Lewis as guest speaker at 9 p.m. More information on the gala can be found at the UNT Department of Dance and Theatre site.

UNT News Service
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